A LIVING TRADITION OF HERITAGE, CRAFT & CULTURE
Located within an authentic turn-of-the-century granite manufacturing plant, the Vermont Granite Museum’s mission is to create stimulating, interactive environments for learning about the geology, technology, history, and art of Vermont’s unique granite industry. Our purpose is to engage, educate, and celebrate with a global audience the rich cultural heritage and current accomplishments of Vermont’s granite businesses and artisans.
VGM is a wonderful place to learn and explore, no matter your age. There are hands-on exhibits for kids, engaging displays that take you from quarrying & processing the stone to finished art, incredible sculpture collections, and even a climbing wall. The Vermont Granite Museum Museum collects objects and archives that relate to the heritage of Vermont’s granite industry and the people and companies that made it possible. The museum acquires and shares collections, stories, and demonstrating skills that define the industry’s collective identity and guides its future.
The museum was founded by a coalition of over 300 Central Vermont citizens in 1994 as way to preserve the story and memories of our community’s granite industry. Since that time we have worked relentlessly to salvage the historic Jones Brothers Manufacturing plant and turn it into a museum. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Construction started in 1998, and capital improvements are made every year. The museum is still under development which means that we are working hard to complete the construction of the museum while also hosting guests and giving tours, designing exhibits, presenting events, and teaching workshops. The building also houses the Stone Arts School where visitors can watch sculptors while they work.
Stone Arts School
The Museum’s Stone Arts School’s mission is to be North America’s premier source of information and education for the stone arts. The Stone Arts School is committed to creating an exciting environment where sculptors from around the world can explore traditional and modern stone carving techniques with working professionals, while promoting granite as a vital material for artistic expression.
In the spring of 2007 The Vermont Granite Museum and Stone Arts School began arranging a series of workshops the Stone Arts School (SAS) at their historic Jones Brothers facility. SAS tapped the deep reservoir of talents, materials and capabilities of Barre’s century-old granite industry to provide sculptors and associated arts and building professionals with hands-on instruction by many of the area’s most accomplished working sculptors and stone workers, in the vanishing art of granite sculpture and its related disciplines.
We hold workshops for beginners, intermediate and advanced sculptors, which explore traditional and modern techniques of working with granite as a sculptural medium, as well as its functional application in landscape and architecture.
Barre’s Granite History
Barre is the home to a community built by immigrants who came here to work and find their fortunes in the granite industry. Native American Abenaki were the first to value the local granite. Europeans who came to Vermont to farm found the granite just below the surface to be a bit hard on the plow! So they turned to cutting the stone from the ground and found and eventually marketed many uses for it.
Bruno Sarzanini Collection
Vermont Granite Museum of Barre © 2002
Barre is called the “Granite Center of the World”, internationally recognized for high-quality stone, manufacturing, and artistry. Barre Gray granite, used for products since the late 1700s, was found to be ideal for monumental work due to its even coloring, fine grain, and lack of impurities. The texture and quality of granite is unmatched for rendering fine carved details which can not be attained with other granites. In the 1800s immigrants flocked to Barre for the opportunity to work in our booming granite manufacturing industry.
Today, Barre continues to quarry, process and wholesale granite. Manufacturer’s have diversified and adapted to changing global markets and demands. In addition to the production of granite memorials, our manufacturers also make counter tops, landscape furniture, architectural details, steps curbing and granite for precision testing calibration, while still offering a wealth of stone carvers and artists who create relief and full sculpture as well as etched designs for a variety of artistic and architectural purposes.